This I Believe

ilana - syracuse, ny 13210, New York
Entered on September 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: children

This I believe

I believe that for many people childhood is a very special time in their lives and possibly the best time in their lives, for a variety of reasons.

This is the only time when you can be completely free of life changing responsibilities such as paying off school loans, being successful in your career, paying a host of household and tax bills, saving for a house, your children’s education and eventually your retirement. It makes me exhausted just talking about adult responsibilities. On the other hand, children think about playing games, doing their homework, trying out for a team sport or going on the computer.

Children appreciate the simple things in life like chasing the ice cream truck on a hot summer day, tickling a puppy’s tummy or riding their bicycle. For many adults, holidays can bring some sadness as they remember relatives who are no longer alive to celebrate with them. But, children really anticipate holidays, such as Halloween, so they can get dressed up as their favorite characters, while munching on candy or Christmas when they can help decorate the tree or sit on Santa’s lap at the mall.

The eagerness a child exhibits is undeniably a very endearing quality. The way they giggle at their friend’s silly joke, or tear open the wrapping paper to get at a birthday gift or say “wow” when they see something that catches their attention. Except for attending sports events, where it’s perfectly ok to scream with excitement, as adults, we tend to contain our joy as it would seem “childish” if we shouted out when we are really happy or excited about something. For example, as an adult, if I walk into a park and admire the beautiful big trees, I’ll probably just say to myself, “what beautiful big oak trees.” However, if I am a child walking into the same park and I see a big tree, I’ll shout “wow – look how big the tree is” and to run as fast as I can towards it and begin to climb. I will even go so far as to create a story in which I am the main character. Perhaps, I am fighting the tigers below in the jungle and I need to climb higher so I will be safe. A child’s imagination is free to roam anywhere without any limitations or restrictions. As adults, we experience and are influenced by so much around us that our imagination is not as vivid. While children can pretend to be grownups, adults cannot pretend to be children as that can be interpreted as “weird” or even classified as a disorder like the Peter Pan Syndrome.

When you are a child, people are more caring and helpful and more forgiving of any mistakes that you make. Lemonade stands never fail, because no one can deny a child. If a child does not understand something, asking a question is encouraged. If adults forget something, they may worry they are getting Alzheimer’s disease. Children’s mistakes are considered “learning experiences” and, with the exception of really horrendous mistakes, their punishment is generally benign such as time out in a corner or no television after finishing their homework. Adult mistakes may warrant getting fired from a job, losing a driver’s license or even going to jail.

Everything I talked about today represents the way a childhood should be. Unfortunately, it is not like that for every child. Some children suffer from merciless bullying, parental abuse, neglect, poverty, and even life-threatening illnesses. Children are innocent and depend on adults for their care and wellbeing. So it is important for their families, their teachers and society, in general, to care about them and nurture them so they can grow up to be adjusted, productive adults. I was fortunate to have a wonderful childhood and I believe in trying to ensure that every child has a special childhood as well.